Aristotel-Confucius Symposium on Ethics for the 21st Century: Inspiring sustainability in the modern world

Symposium on Ethics Aristotel Confucius

The Aristotle-Confucius Symposium on Ethics for the 21st Century, held from 3 to 8 July, brought together distinguished scholars from China, Greece and various parts of the world. The main objective of this event was to explore the development of a new global ethic, one that effectively addresses modern global challenges, drawing on timeless wisdoms originating in China and Ancient Greece.

Thus, throughout the symposium, the main landmarks were the philosophical writings of Aristotle and Confucius, while different classical philosophical thoughts and distinct schools of thought were also examined. The event was co-organised by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Academy of Athens, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Confucius Foundation of China/Nishan World Centre for Confucian Studies and aimed to address current global challenges such as climate change, the digital revolution and development finance. By fostering the convergence of diverse perspectives and interdisciplinary expertise, the symposium aimed to cultivate innovative solutions and pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Hosted by the City of Athens, the Embassy of China in the Hellenic Republic and the World Congress of Philosophy 2024, the event opened its doors on 3 July at the Academy of Athens, where participants enjoyed ten thematic sessions, open discussions, cultural events and visits to important cultural heritage sites. Later, from 6 to 8 July, the symposium moved to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where the thematic sessions took place in ancient Stageira (Aristotle’s birthplace) and ancient Mieza (where Aristotle taught Alexander the Great). These sessions were complemented by guided tours and visits to these historically rich locations.

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Throughout sessions, the symposium explored the question: What can classical Chinese and Greek philosophy contribute to our thinking about the world today, including the global ethic of cooperation and problem solving for the common good?

Sessions covered topics as diverse as individual freedom, happiness and well-being, collective responsibility, the impact of the digital age on decision-making and the relationship between nature and humanity, political excellence in Chinese and Greek traditions, business ethics, multiculturalism, environmental ethics, a feminist perspective on the teachings of Confucius and Aristotle, and the ethics of the digital age.

In the context of business, this symposium shed light on the importance of ethics and sustainability in the modern world. It promoted the idea that inspiration from classical Chinese and Greek wisdom can play a crucial role in developing improved business practices. Business ethics and commitment to sustainability have become essential elements in creating a more responsible corporate world that is conscious of its impact on society and the environment. The symposium provided a forum to debate and promote these ideas in the global business community, demonstrating that the philosophical principles of Aristotle and Confucius remain relevant in the 21st century, and that they can be successfully integrated into the modern business world to support ethical and sustainable development.


  • Aristotle–Confucius Symposium on Ethics for the 21st Century, Athens, 2023, available here;
  • Watch video recordings of the Symposium at the SDSN YouTube channel, available here.